Ancient philosophies and principles are the root of many contemporary practices. From Japanese design comes Wabi-Sabi—the concept of unpretentiousness, the integration of nature, and the acceptance of elegant imperfections—and the five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and void (or pure energy; spirit). As spring is design season, a time of renewal and a cue to refresh our own spaces, we feature collections of classic pieces for the home, inspired by the elements.
Japanese philosophy interprets air/wind, as a representation of growth and free movement—not only in a physical sense, as seen in clouds and smoke, but also within.
Cloud, a shelving unit designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Cappellini, encourages a broadening of the mind via its unique shape. Although curvilinear, the units can be stacked one on top of another and secured in place by discreet clips. As the mind grows from the inspiration housed within the shelves—books, personal treasures—so too can the unit expand.
The broadening of ideas is also embodied in Ingo Maurer’s Zettel’z chandelier. The light fixture uses thin Japanese paper in place of typical glass droplets, with half of the sheets already written on and forty more pages provided as a canvas on which to share personal thoughts. Watch ideas spread from the central glowing light outward.
Jasper Morrison’s Glo-Ball family for Flos are hand-blown glass orbs available in several different forms. The S Glo-Ball drops from the ceiling, the F model sprouts from the floor, and the Basic Glo-Ball can sit upon any surface, serving as both a source of light and a decorative piece for the home.
The sail-like silhouette of the Wave hammock welcomes a gust of wind to gently cradle and rock its occupant, allowing for a moment of calm suspension. The fabric of this Royal Botania piece by Erik Nyberg and Gustav Strm is durable, resistant to harsh weather, and available in four different colours.
See more from the Elements of Design series.